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Jul 22, 2022
The CPU Idea In 1969, Victor Poor vice president of Computer Terminal Corp (CTC), had asked Intel to integrate onto a few chips about a hundred logic circuits which made up the processor of CTC’s intelligent terminal called ‘Datapoint 2000’. “Hoff (Ted Hoff inventor of the 4004 CPU) estimated that Intel could integrate it all onto a single chip” remembers Federico Faggin who put the 4004 into silicon. That chip could have been the first microprocessor because Intel started work on it before the 4004. However the CTC project had been shelved when Faggin’s co-designer Hal Feeney was re-assigned to a memory chip design. “At the end of 1970 Intel resumed the CTC project under my direction” says Faggin. Feeney came back to help. As things turned out CTC didn’t use the chip (which it internally called the 1201) because it turned out to be too slow, and needed too many support chips (about 20), and was uneconomic in the 1971 recession which brought down the cost of the logic components which the chip was designed to replace. CTC agreed to let Intel use the 1201’s architecture in return for dropping its development charge and Intel put it on the market as the 8008. The 8008 achieved some distinction as the CPU for what is arguably the first PC. “The first thing you could call a PC was a French machine – the MISTRAL – which used the 8008 and was sold in 1972 or 73 as a general purpose desktop computer”, says Faggin. The birth of the 8008 also gave rise to one of the other claims on the parentage of the first microprocessor. CTC had asked Texas Instruments to make the same chip as a second source. In June 1971 TI ran an advertisement in Electronics captioned ‘CPU on a chip’ describing the CTC chip. “Surprisingly,” comments Faggin, “TI patented the architecture of the 1201 which was CTC’s architecture with Intel’s inputs, but the TI chip never worked, and was never marketed.” “An invention requires reduction to practice it can’t just be an idea” explains Faggin the idea of a CPU on a chip had been around since the mid-60s. Fairchild had developed a 1-bit serial CPU architecture as had Rockwell. TI might have been the first company to announce the microprocessor, but making it work was the trick.” Recommended Articles
Datapoint Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Datapoint founded?
Datapoint was founded in 1969.
Where is Datapoint's headquarters?
Datapoint's headquarters is located at Middlesex.
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